Everyone has beliefs; and they’re just that—beliefs. Laws are not beliefs. Beliefs are not laws.
Beliefs are not truths; they are not facts. Beliefs are simple assumptions or conclusions that we find evidence to support or dispute. It’s not the “truth” in a belief that is important—it’s the functionality and usefulness of the beliefs that count.
We all have beliefs about the world, about other people, and about ourselves. Some people share the same beliefs; others would die to try to change our minds.
Is it the depth of commitment, level of fanaticism, or emotional sincerity that “proves” a belief to be true? No.
Is the willingness to shout, the ability to find plausible positions, the number of famous people we can find who agree with us, or the amount of popular opinion polls we can point to that prove a belief to be true? No. Beliefs aren’t truth.
Rather than trying to prove a belief to be true, it’s infinitely more effective to determine or decide if a belief is functional and useful.
For example, I have certain beliefs about who I am, what I can do, what I can’t do, what I will or won’t do. Does it mean I can’t change my belief or improve my ability? Does it mean forever I am good at what I think I’m good at and where I’m weak remain puny forever? Does it mean I can’t expand my thinking, learn a new skill, change the evaluation criteria, or be proven wrong? Thankfully, no.
When I was a small child, my Mom would tell me to be careful crossing the street. I really didn’t think I needed to worry. In my belief, I could simply put my foot up and stop an on-coming car dead in its tracks. True? Definitely not. Functional or useful? Probably not. Simply a dysfunctional, impractical, potentially dangerous belief. Fortunately, I never elected to test my belief to be true (I’ve since chosen a belief I think to be more practical, like it’s good to look both ways before crossing the street).
I have a belief that I have the ability to influence my world, affect my future, and attract great things and people into my life. I believe most people have a kind and gentle heart, that everyone does the best they can with what they have available to them at the time, and that the world will eventually come together in a more glorious, balanced vision of humanity and global unity. I believe in love at first sight, that hard work pays off, and that there is always enough to go around. I believe it is better to give than receive and that life and living can be a win-win proposition and doesn’t have to be played as a zero-sum game.
I believe I’m a good person (some people like my ex-wives may differ). I believe I’m intelligent, informed, witty (at times), and pretty good at what I do as a speaker, author, consultant, and mentor. I believe I’m terrible at home repairs (because I don’t want to be good at them). I believe I’m still as good at most things as I was in my twenties and better than ever at other things.
True? Who the hell knows but it’s better than the dysfunction of thinking that my best years are behind me, my ex-wives are right, and that I have a roof to fix, a leaky faucet to repair, and some other god-forsaken home improvement project I should be doing right now because I’m handy around the house.
Now, I know beliefs aren’t true (or at least that’s what I believe). I know that some of my beliefs can’t be proven as fact or as immutable laws. What I choose to believe is that I can adopt beliefs that are useful, perhaps functional fantasies that help me progress toward that which I hope to become and aspire to be.
What beliefs do you chose; what fantasies do you embrace? Are they effective and functional for you and your life?